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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Leicester on New Year’s Day

10 months ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Leicester on Wednesday.

The first match of 2020 seeing a massive challenge for United.

Leicester rested nine of their ten first choice outfield players and yet still beat West Ham away on Saturday, whilst at the same Newcastle were second best to a very average Everton side picking up only their second PL way win in the last nine months.

With the following three games being Wolves away, Chelsea home and Everton away, points are looking at a premium unless Newcastle can bounce back somehow.

We already knew that Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Clark and Saint-Maximin were ruled out for this one on New Year’s Day.

However, after the Everton defeat, Steve Bruce said he also had worries about Lejeune, Schar and Joelinton.

Thankfully images released by the club showed both Lejeune and Joelinton training on Monday, although Schar was conspicuous by his absence, instead 20 year old Kelland Watts was called up from the under 23s to train with the first team on Monday.

With the help of that info I have come up with this predicted Newcastle team v Leicester below.

Whilst I hope obviously we can pick something up in this game, it is to a degree potentially looking more likely to be damage limitation and hopefully not picking up any more injuries.

I can’t see Schar being risked even if he did make himself available, which means we have finally ran out of centre-backs, in terms of playing three of them at the back.

I suppose there is a possibility of playing Watts there, or even dropping Hayden back in there as he has done in the past, but I see it being a back four for a change, mainly out of necessity.

Dubravka in goal and then Yedlin right-back and Manquillo filling in on the left as he has done before, with Lejeune and Fernandez the two centre-backs. No doubt Watts will be cover on the bench if needed.

Then Shelvey and Hayden in the middle, though always a chance one of the Longstaffs could be rotated in, with Willems and Almiron out wide.

Andy Carroll up front with Joelinton playing a supporting role.

The bottom line as well is that the other alternatives who could come in, such as Gayle, Muto, Atsu and Krafth, none of them have shown anything to suggest they are up to the job. As I say above, only really the Longstaffs are viable alternatives to start this Leicester game.

Claims today of Mike Ashley being willing to back Steve Bruce with three signings in January. Credible better quality players are needed but I don’t think much chance of anything but loan signings arriving.

The above gives me this predicted Steve Bruce Newcastle team v Leicester:

Newcastle entertain Leicester, a team still second in the Premier League despite recent defeats to champions Man City and champions-elect Liverpool.

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